Online Marketing Essentials: Social Validation and How to Get It Right
Social validation is a term used to describe how we look to the behavior of others to justify the decisions we make. When it comes to choosing which product to buy, or which company to go with, people see the behavior and opinions of others as a strong indication that a product or company must be the right (or wrong) choice.
Today, when consumers visit a website, they expect to be able to read testimonials, leave comments, read reviews, or at least visit a company's social media profiles to engage with the company and other customers. But it's not always easy to create a user-friendly, interactive website experience. At StevenMilanese.com, we come across many business websites that could do with some expert help. By using the right combination of website structure, content, coding, social media integration, and more, you can generate more leads and give your audience the reassurance they need to do business with you.
Why Social Validation Is So Important
The most successful online marketing strategies cater to the initial research phase that people go through when they begin searching online. If consumers find enough social validation for a certain brand, they're more likely to seek out its products and services and also remember it in the future. Our digital consultants understand how social proof can help you get noticed in a crowded online environment. The benefits are clear:
- Improve your credibility
- Monitor your reputation
- Optimize your marketing strategies
- Improve your search engine rankings
Here are a few cost-effective strategies our digital marketing professionals use that can be tailored to suit the goals of any business.
Make It Easy to Share
It sounds simple, but many businesses don't make it easy for their customers to share branded content. By including share buttons at the end of every blog post, newsletter, and product description, you make it much easier for people to spread the word about your company and products via social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Need help with design and programming? Get in touch today.
Displaying testimonials throughout your website – especially alongside calls-to-action – is a powerful way to boost engagement and encourage further action. People are much more likely to sign up to a newsletter, download an ebook, or make a purchase if they read a positive comment from a happy customer.
Engage in Social Media
Your social media channels are only helpful in the long term if you take the time to engage with your audience and provide useful and valuable information. Set aside a short period of time every day to respond to posts or comments. It shows you care about what your customers think and helps you manage your reputation. If you need help with setting up and managing your social media profiles, contact StevenMilanese.com today.
Display Social and Business Connections
Showing subscriber counts alongside opt-in forms can have a significant impact on conversions. There are various widgets available to highlight your social connections. For example, you can display the number of Twitter followers you have, or draw attention to your Facebook Likes. Another technique to quickly improve your credibility is to display the logos of clients you work with.
Provide Onsite Reviews
Reviews are especially important for ecommerce platforms and can make all the difference in purchasing decisions. According to a CompUSA and iPerceptions study, 63 percent of consumers were more likely to purchase from a site with product reviews and ratings. You only need to look at Amazon's system to see how user reviews can influence consumer purchase decisions. Site forums can have a similar effect, giving users a platform to voice their concerns and have questions answered. The product-relevant content this generates is also great for SEO.
Set Up Local Directory Profiles
Local directory sites have become high-quality sources of social validation, and the more reputable ones will also help your search engine rankings. Encourage your customers to leave reviews on these sites by letting them know which local directories you are listed on. Post links to your profiles, wherever you have a presence, from Yelp, Google+ Local, and MapQuest, to Foursquare, Whitepages, and Trip Advisor.
By following these guidelines, any business can use social validation to boost their credibility and turn more leads into customers. In summary:
- Make it easy for users to share your content
- Clearly display testimonials
- Engage more in social media
- Publicize your social media platforms and business connections
- Host user-reviews
- Promote your presence on local directories
Ultimately, you'll only benefit from social validation if you actually offer products, services, and customer support that people want to recommend. Therefore, improving the customer experience, from pre-purchase through to delivery and returns, needs to be the number one priority. When you get it right, you'll stand out from the competition and give people a reason to socially validate your brand.
If you need help with structuring your website, programming, social media integration, SEO, or just want to improve the overall usability of your website, you need to work with a professional digital consultant that has the experience to turn your ideas into practical solutions. Contact one of our friendly team members today to find out how we take your business to the next level.
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